Fantasy Review For 2017/18 Season:

It was their first season above 50 wins in almost 2 decades so obviously it was a great one. What’s more it was also very positive for fantasy teams – they had 2 emerging stars in Embiid and Simmons and 3 solid role-players in Covington, Redick and Saric. Amazingly it would have been much better had #1 draft pick in 2017 not forget how to play basketball which was like a cloud hanging above their heads and it diverted attention from otherwise very successful campaign. Hopefully this won’t happen again this year…

Changes in the offseason

Lost = Ersan Ilyasova, Marco Belinelli, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Justin Anderson
Added = Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden

Projected Depth Chart:

Ben Simmons J.J. Redick Robert Covington Dario Saric Joel Embiid
T.J. McConnell Markelle Fultz Wilson Chandler Wilson Chandler Amir Johnson
Markelle Fultz Zhaire Smith Furkan Korkmaz Jonah Bolden Mike Muscala

Positional Battles: Fultz

The starting lineup of Simmons-Redick-Covington-Saric-Embiid was among the best in the league but they have to find a way to somehow incorporate Markelle Fultz. At what position will he play and how many total minutes? One option would be to use him as a 6th man to keep the chemistry of last year’s team and give him a lot of minutes with Ben Simmons resting but based on the preseason games Sixers want to start Fultz over Redick. I don’t think it’s a good move for them but if you think it is, you should move up Fultz in your rankings and move down JJ because my assumptions for these projections will be wrong if it sticks for the whole season.

Fantasy Relevant in leagues with 12- to 15-teams:

Joel Embiid

48,7 FG%, 77,6 FT%, 1,33 3PM, 23,2 PTS, 10,88 REB, 2,99 AST, 0,75 STL, 1,88 BL, 3,63 TO

JoJo’s rising fantasy value is a pretty easy assumption based on the fact he probably will play more minutes and in his third NBA season on the court he should improve something like turnovers or shooting percentages or defensive numbers [yes, there’s still a lot of room to grow! Especially when he wants to be in the MVP conversation].

But the main story regarding his value is how many games will he play this year?
Will he be finally unleashed without any limits or will he still be “babied” [his words on social media]?
If it’s the latter his averages overstate his true value [3/4 of the season from Top20 player is like losing a Top80-90 player for the whole year] but if it’s the former his upside could be even higher due to more possible minutes. Based on the history I have to hedge in the projections but your assumptions may be different.

Ben Simmons

53,1 FG%, 62,4 FT%, 0 3PM, 15,62 PTS, 8,05 REB, 7,27 AST, 1,78 STL, 0,82 BL, 3,09 TO

A tricky player to project his stats because his rookie season was so spectacular there are only two ways to look at it. He’s either on a path to become one of the best players of all-time [so we should expect improvement from the baseline established last year] or it was a classic “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” [so he’s going to disappoint those expecting a typical improvement for 2nd year player]. After much deliberation I’ve decided I’m in the second camp for 4 main reasons:
– it was a perfect storm of opportunity. With Fultz missing in action he handled the ball like an established go-to-guy and with Embiid playing limited minutes Sixers avoided the problem of “who really should be the alpha here?”. Both things could change this year and both would be negative for Simmons’ fantasy value.
– the devastating effectiveness of his style took a league by surprise but I think Celtics in the playoffs showed the way how to defend him – with a mobile big guy. I expect this and many more successful strategies to slow him down this year.
– with no jumper whatsoever he made 71% of his attempts at the rim. It took Giannis 5 years to reach that point, Durant needed 4 years, even LeBron James didn’t do it in his rookie season [and had worse seasons later!]. If we assume Ben Simmons is ahead of those three in terms of development at age 21… I mean, his realistic scenario would be basically the best player of all-time. I’m sceptical this is the case so I assume he won’t repeat that feat this year [but he will do it many times in the future].
– he’s experimenting with switching shooting hand. This can’t be a good sign for his short-term effectiveness…

Robert Covington

39,8 FG%, 82,3 FT%, 2,4 3PM, 11,63 PTS, 5,2 REB, 1,81 AST, 1,68 STL, 0,86 BL, 1,68 TO

Last year he set career-high in all 3 shooting categories so don’t pay for those as it’s easy to assume it was a career-year. But his defensive numbers are so good that given typical starter’s minutes his floor is around Top60 even if he does worse in those shooting percentages.
P.S. How high is the risk he will lose starting job [on Sixers or via trade]? It has to be higher than usual, right?

JJ Redick

45,2 FG%, 89,7 FT%, 2,68 3PM, 16,14 PTS, 2,43 REB, 2,72 AST, 0,47 STL, 0,08 BL, 1,34 TO

While shooting ability ages really well so we know what to expect from him he’s at the stage of his career he could suddenly become a reserve [with way fewer minutes]. Based on reports around the preseason it may have already happened but as I’ve mentioned above I think he’s a better fit in the starting lineup than Fultz so I assume he will give us one more typical solid year. But I could be wrong so buyers beware.

Dario Saric

44 FG%, 82,9 FT%, 1,67 3PM, 12,5 PTS, 6,1 REB, 2,37 AST, 0,65 STL, 0,27 BL, 1,8 TO

He plugged holes in the lineup really well with his versatile offense but Sixers’ improved depth and more responsibilities for Fultz mean somebody from the rotation will have to lose minutes. I assume it will be Saric because he’s more replaceable than Redick’s sharpshooting and his game is better suited for bench role than Covington’s switchability on defensive.

Markelle Fultz

42,5 FG%, 65,2 FT%, 1,17 3PM, 12,04 PTS, 3,49 REB, 4,7 AST, 1,05 STL, 0,44 BL, 1,57 TO

The mystery of 2017/18 season will be finally revealed! But will it be magic or a horror show?
In the last 2 years there were 2 versions of him so you can make a lot of different assumptions here.
Above stats put way more weight in 2016/17 numbers than data from 2017/18 but keep in mind he couldn’t make free-throws in NCAA and in the offseason he basically had to learn how to shoot from the scratch so his fantasy upside in 9-cat Roto is NOT typical for a #1 draft pick but way lower.

Could be useful with trades/injuries [or in deeper leagues than 15 teams]:
Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, T.J. McConnell

Just don’t bother with:
Amir Johnson, Zhaire Smith [tough blow with the injury], Furkan Korkmaz

Don’t forget to check the rest of the Philadelphia 76ers fantasy basketball projections..

Posted in Teams preview